Raw Mozart

What I find fascinating about this piece – the overture to an opera that Mozart wrote when he was 14 – is that it sounds like the kind of thing you might get if you programmed a computer to generate “something that sounds like Mozart.” It’s the distinctively Mozartian sound, but by contrast with his later work he’s just not doing anything very interesting with it.

My point here isn’t to slam the piece – hell, it’s damn good for 14, and anyway in its day the Mozartian sound was already an innovation (I wouldn’t mistake this piece for, say, Haydn). But it’s just interesting to realise that there is such a thing as the pure Mozartian sound, apart from the cool things he would later learn to do with it. It’s a bit like encountering a genus not yet contracted to any particular species – or perhaps a kind of Mozartian prime matter.

8 Responses to Raw Mozart

  1. Phil May 9, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Never mind the music, what sort of drugs was the choreographer on?

    • Roderick May 10, 2009 at 12:59 am #

      The choreographer is trying to distract you from the inadequacy of the music.

  2. Ray Mangum May 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Yeah, you can kind of get a hint of his later great overtures like “The Magic Flute”, which is the piece of music that turned me on to Classical Music proper. I think the piece starts out well, but the third section is a dud.

    Also, those eyes are fucking terrifying.

    • Leo T. Magnificent May 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

      Also, those eyes are fucking terrifying.

      Lmao, That was my first initial thought.

  3. steven May 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    I’d love to see a PDQ Bach arrangement.

  4. MBH May 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Totally sidetracking the conversation: why do you use ‘realise’ instead of ‘realize’ or ‘criticise’ instead of ‘criticize’? I only ask because I’ve always found the ‘s’ much more aesthetically pleasing than the ‘z’. It makes for a more smooth read.

    Just wondering where that comes from.

    • Roderick May 10, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

      Short answer: I read a lot of British children’s books growing up, and I guess it rubbed off.

  5. dennis May 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    He also uses Armourall on his car and his favourite colour is green.

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